Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the people, “Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.”
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!”
“You want me to do what?!“
I’m sure that Joshua, having been a man of considerable experience in warfare, had a plan going into Jericho, a plan that had something to do with swords and horses and armor. And I am very certain that Joshua’s initial plan was probably not this: “Let’s get the priests and our most valuable possession and march around the city, blowing trumpets the whole time, and this will cause the great walls of Jericho to fall.” Imagine what the leaders and people of Israel thought when Joshua told them about God’s plan! And imagine the looks on the faces of the people of Jericho as they watched this!!
And yet, this is the plan that works – the walls of Jericho fall before this completely crazy idea. But if you look throughout Scripture, this is not the only time that God works through apparent foolishness – think about Noah building the Ark, and what his neighbors thought! Elijah lights the fire of an altar after pouring gallons of water all over it! And the ultimate piece of divine foolishness: that God would save us by sending his only Son to die on a cross for us:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
God often works in ways that we would consider unorthodox and unexpected, so we have to resist the urge to do things our way, to follow the common path, and let God do what he wants in our life, in the way he wants to do it!
But most importantly, this is the only plan that would have worked. Jericho was a city built on a hill, surrounded by multiple tiers of walls. It was a time period far before any war machines, like catapults or siege towers. The Israelites would have been slaughtered before the walls of Jericho had they tried the wisest strategies and best weapons of the time. And so we see that a very similar choice lies before us: to throw ourselves at the walls of our own lives, using our own strategies, only to utterly burn ourselves out and be frustrated; or we can follow the crazy ideas of God and see the walls come tumbling down.
1. Was there a time in your life that a perfect plan completely fell through?
2. Has there been a time in your life that God has accomplished something in a completely unexpected, even crazy fashion?
3. Being practical is not a sin, as long it doesn’t close the door on God. What are some ways you can make sure that practicality is not more important than obedience?
4. What is your “Jericho”? What is one area of your life that you really want to see victory, but think that it is nearly impossible to accomplish? Do you think there may be a crazy divine plan for victory in that area of your life?